Former Renault driver labels Otmar Szafnauer as ‘useless’ after Alpine sacking

Former Renault F1 test driver Franck Montagny was glad to see Otmar Szafnauer and Alan Permane leave Alpine.


Former Renault driver labels Otmar Szafnauer as ‘useless’ after Alpine sacking

Franck Montagny (image via Auto Hebdo), Otmar Szafnauer (image via Car and Driver)

Alpine made headlines during the Belgian GP weekend when the French team decided to fire Team Principal Otmar Szafnauer and Sporting Director Alan Permane. This decision was created as part of a massive overhaul of the leadership of the Renault works team. Now, former Renault F1 driver Franck Montagny has slammed the two former Alpine leaders.

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Montagny claimed that the exit of Szafnauer and Permane was a major morale boost for the Enstone-based team. The former French driver claimed both the key figures failed to contribute to the team’s efforts. He told Motorsportweek, “I think that the rising morale of the troops is mainly due to the fact that Permane, Szafnauer, etc. were fired, and frankly, they were useless.”

The former Renault driver even mentioned that despite the continuous reshuffles at Alpine, the Renault works team has failed to deliver results with Otmar Szafnauer’s leadership being the latest example. Franck Montagny explained, “The car’s performance has been the same for five years. It doesn’t change anything, it doesn’t evolve, it doesn’t work.”

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Franck Montagny recalls an exhausting period with Alan Permane at Renault

Franck Montagny testing a Renault F1 car in 2003 (Credits: @endaloughlin/Pinterest)
Franck Montagny testing a Renault F1 car in 2003 (Credits: @endaloughlin/Pinterest)

The 45-year-old was part of the Enstone squad from 2003 to 2005 as a test driver. Montagny claimed that Permane had been shifted to the testing team at Renault after being intolerable in the race team. Moreover, Alan Permane‘s return to the testing team proved to be a difficult period for the personnel as the former Alpine Sporting Director did not manage to lead his team properly.

Franck Montagny was glad that Permane had finally been fired from the Renault works team. After the Briton spent 34 years at Enstone, serving the team under its various names. The Frenchman stated, “When he returned to the test team, he tired everyone out, and he’s been with the team for 34 years. I think it was the right thing to do, bravo Bruno Famin [Alpine Motorsports vice president].”

Thus, Franck Montagny has no sympathy for the exits of Otmar Szafnauer and Alan Permane. The 45-year-old was confident that the sackings would in turn, aid the Renault works team. The Frenchman was glad to see the two key figures being forced out of the Enstone-based squad. Although, it remains to be seen if the French team can turn things around with its new leadership structure.

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